What is Panic Disorder?
Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks and a persistent concern about having additional attacks. Individuals suffering from panic typically worry about the implications of the attack or its consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, “going crazy”) and alter their behavior related to the fear of experiencing another attack.
Many people with panic disorder feel depressed. Fatigue and feeling that life is too stressful is also common. Some of those with panic disorder may be prone to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. This may provide temporary relief but in the long run will usually make the condition worse. It has also been found that for some using a substance, marijuana for instance, can trigger the onset of panic disorder.
People with panic disorder also frequently develop “safety signals,” such as sitting nearby an exit that similarly results in short-term anxiety reduction, but just leads to more anxiety over time.